On Tuesday, the rumor mill concerning the Philadelphia Flyers blew up.
Not only was it confirmed by ESPN's Pierre LeBrun that forward Danny Briere would be bought out, but conflicting reports about goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov's security with the team surfaced, as well as trade rumors involving Anaheim's Bobby Ryan and Los Angeles' Jonathan Bernier also came to the forefront.
Talk about a crazy day.
All of this coming on the heels of a reported deal struck with the New York Islanders to acquire their former captain Mark Streit. Streit signed a bloated four year pact worth a grand total of $22 million. Following that deal, it signaled change. There is writing on the wall...but for whom?
If, for example, both Briere and Bryzgalov are bought out, that unlocks about $12 million in cap space. The Flyers are currently above the new cap ceiling of $64 million by $7 million. These moves would not afford a ton of room, but it would at least be something.
The Flyers have signed defenseman Mark Streit to a four-year contract according to TSN's Darren Dreger.
The deal is said to be worth $21 million, an AAV of $5.25 million. The deal also includes a partial no-trade clause, meaning Streit can submit a list of teams he would want to be traded to.
The Flyers acquired the rights to Streit last week for a 2014 4th round pick and Phantoms forward Shane Harper. Streit, 35, was going to be an unrestricted free agent come July 5 if the Flyers couldn't reach an agreement with him.
After numerous reports said the same thing it looks like the Flyers may be parting ways with their controversial goaltender.
Bob McKenzie of TSN, The Fourth Period, and now Comcast SportsNet have all reported that the Flyers could be buying out netminder Ilya Bryzgalov. After two years of headache-filled hockey, Bryzgalov may be getting cut loose, freeing up some much-needed salary cap space as the Flyers look to rebound from missing the post season.
The Flyers have made their first move of the off season, acquiring a defenseman from a division rival.
They have traded forward Shane Harper along with a fourth round pick in the 2014 amateur draft to New York Islanders for 35-year-old defenseman Mark Streit. Streit was the captain of the Islanders team the last two years.
Streit is going to be a free agent come July 5 but they now own his rights until then and have the opportunity to re-sign him. General manager Paul Holmgren said that Streit was one of the blueliners on his radar at the July 5 free agency period.
I think this time I’m going to be serious in my post. It’s not because I all-of-a-sudden want to be mature again, but it’s mainly because I’ve run out of funny things to say during the first three rounds.
Neither team representing their Conference is something to joke about this time around. The Bruins and Blackhawks have both won the Cup within the last three years, and were among the preseason favorites to win the Cup this shortened season.
Chicago also boasts the honor of being the President’s Trophy winner. But with that honor comes pressure.
The Flyers front office is loaded with former players who have enjoyed their tenure in Philadelphia so much they came back to work in the front office.
Former goalie Antero Niittymaki is the latest former Flyer to join the front office, serving as a scout in the European market for the Flyers. He joins former players like Derian Hatcher and Ian Laperriere who are now employed by the Flyers as personnel.
Niittymaki said he knew exactly where he wanted to go in the next phase of his professional hockey career. And after he played his final games for TPS Turku of the Finnish league, he made the call to Paul Holmgren for a job.
(Photo: Antero Niittymaki in 2008. Photo byAl Bello/Getty Images North America)
Ever since the Winter Classic was introduced in 2008 with the Pittsburgh Penguins beating the Buffalo Sabres in a blizzard, fans in the Tri State area have fantasized about a match-up between the Flyers and Penguins in the most perfect setting.
That fantasy setting is Happy Valley and it may become a reality in the near future.
Penn State officials confirmed with WJACTV that the school is seriously considering an outdoor game to host an NHL team, or at least their own Nittany Lions in Big Ten action.
Ever since Penn State's hockey team became a Division 1 sports, hockey has exploded in Happy Valley. They played Neumann College on January 4, 2012, losing 6-3.
It has become the most recent catalyst in getting a Flyers/Penguins game at Beaver Stadium.
UPDATE -- The Flyers have signed both Austrian left winger Michael Raffi as well as 20-year-old QMJHL defenseman Maxin Lamarche.
In a statement on Raffi, who lit up international play for Austria:
“Both (Director of Player Personnel) Dave Brown and myself as well as (European Scout) Ilkka (Sinisalo) saw him at the World Championships and he’s a good player,” said Director of Hockey Operations Chris Pryor. “You noticed him over there. He’s got skill. He thinks the game. He’s a versatile guy and can do a lot of different things.”
The Conference Finals this year will feature no parody.
Two number ones, a number two and a number four have lasted the first two grueling rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and will now face the best of the best in their conference. In fact, all four teams remaining have each won the Cup the last four years.
The Kings are the reigning champs, the Penguins and Blackhawks are the conference favorites and the Bruins are the most physical team in the pack.
Who will move on and who will go home? Conference play starts tomorrow at 5 PM.